How to review this album? This is quite a dilemma as to quote the lyrics from opening track “Music Media Is My Whore” this is definitely “authentic anti-music” with discordant rhythms and timing signatures and Phil ranting and screaming in much the same way he did on ‘The Great Southern Trendkill’, which also happens to be the last thing I listened to him on.
I wouldn’t suggest you pick this album up expecting it to be either easy listening or Pantera, as it most certainly is neither, nor is it meant to be listened to without wanting to hear what is being said. I found the accompanying lyric sheet to be priceless in this regard, as there are occasions when the hostility and speed at which Phil spits out his opinions are aided by having a cheat-sheet in hand to let you know the message he’s trying to relay.
Some blasting by Jose Manuel Gonzales work well with Marzi Montazeri’s quickly strummed triplets, harmonics and lead breaks on “Battalion of Zero” as Phil belts out the vocals with gusto, as “Betrayed” bounces between staccato and flowing guitar riffing as the vocals go from being barked out rapidly to slowly sung to their own (un)melody.
Keeping the extreme aggression in full swing “Usurper Bastard’s Rant” has a blistering lead guitar break that hits some notes that some may find rather disquieting or just fucking hostile!
“Walk Through Exits Only” is pure unadulterated anger as only Phil can rasp out at high velocity while Marzi’s opening thrash guitar rhythm on “Bedroom Destroyer” is effectively accompanied by Jose’s blasting on the drums.
The cacophony that is “Bedridden” has Phil doing some slightly deeper growls over the squawking and squealing guitar, pounding drums and Bennett Bartley’s flawless bass work. Whatch the promo clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpK-4VC5ztw
The final track comes in at just over 12 minutes long and “Irrelevant Walls and Computer Screens” has violent timing changes that relentlessly pound your ear canals with crashing cymbals and distorted guitars, until about halfway through when an epic guitar lead is played with fervent abandon only to fade to white noise and static, finally building up again to what sounds like it could be a great riff as the album ends leaving you wanting to hear more.
While this certainly shan’t be everyone’s cup of tea, there are moments of brilliance where The Illegals’ musical ability shines through, but for the most part they are trying to push auditory boundaries and force you to listen to what they are doing in a different way and to accept that abrasive, discordant sounds can be musical when melded together correctly.
(7/10 – Marco Gaminara)